Losing What Never Was

Chemical Pregnancy.  That’s a term I’ve only learned just this week. What does it mean?  From what information I have read online in the past couple of days, it’s really just another term for miscarriage.  Some people use “chemical pregnancy” when describing the loss of a child in the very early weeks of pregnancy, because technically it is not the miscarriage of a fetus, or baby, yet.  Something about the word “chemical”, at least when I hear it, seems to imply that the pregnancy is somehow false or fake, or all in one’s head, and I don’t believe that is true.

When a woman has a chemical pregnancy, all of the expected pregnancy symptoms are there.  The list is wide and varied from woman to woman, but many of us are familiar with the most common early pregnancy symptoms:  nausea (morning sickness), sore breasts, and a missed period.  A lot of times (most times?) with a chemical pregnancy, a pregnancy test will result in a positive.

For women like myself, there are certain “tell tale” symptoms of pregnancy.  I have been pregnant a few times, but only carried one child (my son who is 5) to term.  However, each time I KNEW I was pregnant from the get-go.  My body does things in pregnancy it wouldn’t DARE do otherwise.  I get yeast infections (sorry) in pregnancy.  I have vivid dreams, many times of the pregnancy or child itself, like I am meeting him or her.  My boobs HURT like my bra is made of sandpaper.  I get tired.  I get emotional.  Very, very emotional.   Truth be told I am an emotional person by nature.  But when I’m pregnant, it gets ramped up to 11.  My feelings go to 11.  High five if you get the ST reference.

Yesterday ended a brief, happy, hopeful couple of weeks that evidently was a chemical pregnancy.  To be clear, miscarriage is real, and chemical pregnancies are not “made up”.  I am 100% sure I was pregnant, at least for a little while.  I spotted at implantation time.  I got a raging infection – seriously, I could not walk for a couple of days – around what would normally be ovulation time (and this is when I became sure we had conceived).  I began having dizzy spells.  My complexion was “glowing” and my step-mom randomly asked me if I was pregnant.  I wasn’t ready to think it possible yet, so I just said no.  My boobs… well, I already went over that.  They don’t hurt me in a normal cycle, and this time they were swollen, with blue-ish veins and lots of pain. My belly was a little swollen. I cried at everything.  Literally.  Happy things, sad things, all the things made me cry.  I had several dreams.  Mid-month, a dream that featured an “old-timey” nurse in a candy-striper outfit and a white hat, holding up two positive pregnancy tests and asking me “are you sure this is what you want?”  Another featuring my son’s soon-to-be-sibling, cuddled up next to me on the couch, my son cuddled with us, taking our first photo together.  My favorite grass-fed beef smelled and tasted funny.  (Meat aversion was something I suffered when pregnant with my son.)  I allowed myself to think.  Then to hope.  I prayed in the shower, “God please if you allow this to happen, I promise I will love this child and be the mother he or she deserves.” Then I began to get excited.  Yes, I was definitely pregnant.

Yesterday, I ceased to be.

I am sad.  Of course, sad does not begin to cover what I feel but I find this whole thing difficult to articulate.  I have cried hot tears and choked on my own heartbreak.  I prayed in the shower again, this time through sobs and snorts, a different prayer.  “God, I hurt.  Please heal my pain.  Your ways are higher than my ways and I know you want what is best for me. So, it is well.  It is well with my soul.  It is well with me.”

{side note: Not even an hour later in church, our worship pastor decided to “switch things up” and play an older hymn.  The name of that hymn?  It Is Well With My Soul.  The man who wrote it, he said, wrote it after and despite losing his three daughters.  He still wanted to praise God and say that God is still good.  Oh, my heart!  God was speaking directly to me and my heart received that message!  You must know, dear reader, that God sees all, knows all, and LOVES us with a love we cannot even begin to fathom.  He is a great father.}

Now, for several reasons I suppose I should have been with not being pregnant.  My son would be 6 when this baby was born.  That’s a large gap.  My husband and I hadn’t talked about, or prepared for, more kids (although I know he would be fine with it).  Financially, I don’t know if we could have afforded a baby right now.  Age-wise, I don’t know if I could handle the up-all-night sleep deprived routine again at 35 like I did at 29 (and survive without murdering someone). Body-wise, I know that pregnancy and birth wreaks havoc, and recovery was a long, slow road for me last time due to an emergency c-section that was NOT a part of my birth plan.  Still, the older I get the less I worry about my looks.  It’s what’s inside that counts, and what’s inside me right now is a heart that longs to be a mother to more children.  To love them, feed them, hug and kiss them, see my husband be the most extraordinary father to them.

I told hubs, who I had largely kept it secret from (until I got a positive test), and though I expected him to laugh at the idea of being parents again, he didn’t.  He comforted me.  My incredible, compassionate life-mate listened, wiped my tears, held and hugged me, and encouraged me to eat ice cream and sleep and be easy with myself.  He said we could try again, we could continue the discussion, we could even look into adoption, if we felt God leading us that way.  What a precious gift he is!  And he’s right about one thing: Our son is a gift, and even we are never blessed with more children, we have this amazing boy that God has entrusted to us, and each day we are with him is a blessing.  He is pure sunshine: bright and kind and sing-songy and darling.  Every day I am thankful for him.

Today, I am not crying, but it still stings a little, which part of me thinks is silly.  How can I be sad over something that never was?  How can I cry over a baby I “made up”?  I don’t know.  But I can.  And I do.  However, I have chosen joy.  I have chosen to be grateful for my life as it is, and for God, who does not make mistakes.  He even winked at me in church and let me know he is aware of my struggle.  I aspire to model his parenting with my own kids, no matter how many I have.

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Featured for Spring/Summer 2015

Hey Guys and Dolls,

Just a short note to say “Look at me, look at me!”  I’m kidding.  It’s really a short note to say, “Look at Him! Look at Him!”  Please take a minute and go read, download, and support this amazing resource for teenagers and college-aged women.

DEVOTION Magazine Spring/Summer 2015 Issue:

http://devotionmagazine.com/the-mags/4584315832

[Featuring “Promiscuous Girl”, a snippet of my testimony.]

Christmas and Traditions

I have noticed a trend this year among Facebook friends and some of the Mommy Bloggers I follow.  There has been lots of discussion this year about Christmas traditions – Elf on the Shelf being the most horrendous, in my humble opinion.  It got me thinking, because traditions aren’t something we value too highly in our little family.  We like trying new things, whether they be foods or experiences or weird do-it-yourself egg and mayonnaise hair treatments.  We get rid of clothing and furniture pretty regularly, we don’t have attachment to material things.

This Christmas is significant for us, because 1) We are in a new home (movin’ on up, as they say) 2) My daughter is away at school and this is the first Christmas that she won’t be home with us, and 3) my son is 5 and able to enjoy the stories, help wrap presents, and grasp the idea of Christmas and the holiday more than he did in years past.  For these reasons I have been thinking about Christmas traditions – do we need them? Do we want them?  Are they silly?  Are they a sweet way to stay close as a family?

We don’t have traditions.  We do things differently every year.  The tree, the decorations, the food, the music, the routine of whose house we go to first or last or not at all.  Maybe that’s our tradition.  Some years we didn’t have a tree (due to finances and, well, cats).  Other years we had only construction paper snowflake ornaments.  We don’t watch the same movies or eat the same foods every year, and while I do have fond memories of my grandmothers “broke-neck” gingerbread men and the laughter they inspired among my cousins and me,  I guess don’t see traditions as necessary.  I realize, though, that for my son there is comfort in the familiar, and my husband and I want to begin to put him on a road towards a relationship with Christ – one that begins with reverence and respect for Christmas, Jesus’ birth.

So, this year we decided to start our first Christmas tradition.  It may be the only thing we do EVERY year consistently, but it’s a good one.  We found an advent calendar – the kind with the little numbered doors and chocolates behind each one – and a website that explains the Christmas story in a way kids can understand.  Every morning in the month of December, we read and talk a little about Jesus – who he is, why he is important, what he did, and his Earthly family.  Then, my son gets a chocolate.

The chocolate may be his favorite part of our talks, but I know that some of the things he learns are sticking.  For instance, he knows “advent” means “coming”. He knows “Immanuel” means “God with us”. If I say “Jesus is the ____” he responds with “Light of the World” (and a big smile).  He knows Jesus’ mommy’s name was Mary and he knows Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.  I feel like, for one so small, that is a lot of information.

The cookies won’t last and one day the presents will be forgotten, and maybe my son won’t grow up watching a parade on tv eating the same treats I make every holiday season, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Setting up a place for him in our son’s heart and life is one tradition I feel worthy, and one I know I can keep.

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Hebrews 12:1

“12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

My analysis and how to apply this…

Starting at the beginning: yes, we are surrounded by a huge crowd, aren’t we, followers? Everywhere we turn people are observing, watching us to see if we are like Jesus. SO that is motivation to really be like him, to really lead them to church and ultimately, to the Lord. I don’t want to be the one who convinces someone they DON’T need what Jesus offers!

Many Christians struggle with extra weight, anger is mine which I have told you girls a thousand times already, but there are others, and we all have them. I think this verse is saying to lay that all down because otherwise we can’t run this race. I think about soldiers who run with big 50 lb packs on their backs. I would fall down and die! And my anger is like those packs, weighing me down, slowing me down, and usually making it impossible for me to continue the way God wants. UNTIL, I put it down.

I must say, I love the analogy of running. I feel like it’s so accurate to what this life is like, what my walk with God feels like. Sometimes it’s exhilarating, feeling awesome, wind in my face, I’m totally confident I’m going to make it to the finish. Other days it’s lots of hills, slow going, having to coach myself out loud to take another step.

One last thing to mention. The NIV version says to run the race that is “marked out for us”. I wanted to include that because, it’s so important not to compare our race with others. Keep your eyes on your own lane on the track! Your race might be shorter or slower, faster, bumpier, smoother, whatever… than someone else’s race. But it has been marked out FOR YOU. You’re not running their race, you’re running the one that was given especially to you. The other way I read that is that the course has been MARKED. Which, if you’ve ever run a trail race you know the markers that tell you where to turn are crucial to success. Without them you get lost in the wilderness. Same goes for our faith. The race has been marked out, if we follow Jesus we won’t get lost.

Prayer for today: Father, thank you for this word today! Thank you for how happy I feel writing about it. Help me to keep this light and share it with others and always feel this passion for witnessing. Thank you for my race. Thank you for marking the way for me and encouraging me to keep going. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Run!
Run!